Brandon Labour Council president Cory Szczepanski will vie for the NDP nomination in the upcoming federal byelection.
Szczepanski, 36, says his current role, along with his past experience as president of the United Steel Workers Union Local 7913, have prepared him for taking the leap into federal politics.
"I’ve dealt with all sorts of problems and issues, political action from municipal, provincial and federal governments," Szczepanski said.
"I do have the experience leading up to this event to make sure I am prepared to become an MP for this part of the province."
Szczepanski was born and raised in Brandon, and has lived in Wawanesa for the past eight years. He is a welder with Behlen Industries.
In 2011, he was acclaimed as the NDP candidate for Manitoba’s Spruce Woods constituency, but lost the election to Conservative MLA Cliff Cullen.
"Running in the 2011 provincial election … I got to go to hundreds of doors in multiple communities," he said. "I spoke about several different issues with people, so I do believe that I’m in tune with the people of southern Manitoba."
Szczepanski has been working with the NDP for the past eight years, and says he "believes fully" in the party’s values.
"It’s something that has been instilled in me since I was a child, and it’s just a natural progression," he said. "When you want to see big changes occur, you need to be involved and you need to be at the table."
Szczepanski plans to speak with as many NDP members as possible leading up to the nomination meeting and encourage new memberships.
"I think this is an opportunity for Brandon-Souris to send a message to the Tories," he said. "Our federal government ran on accountability and transparency and with this latest (Senate) scandal, we’re seeing the complete opposite."
Szczepanski said he hopes to reach out and talk to people who "may have been discouraged for years and don’t come out and vote."
"I need to get the message across … to show them that there is change for the better, and Westman can have a solid place in Ottawa," he said.
Szczepanski will officially announce his candidacy at a press conference on Friday at noon at 1349 Sixth St.
While a byelection has yet to be called, it is likely to be held in late November.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 28, 2013